XBOX REVIEW: BLINX 2: MASTERS OF TIME AND SPACE

Blinx 2: Masters of Time and Space is a poor man's Ratchet and Clank. It's an action platformer that delivers plenty of gameplay diversity but at the expense of cohesion. What we end up with is a perplexing amalgam of moves, gadgets, puzzles, characters and situations that don't blend. Imagine if you could hear every individual voice in a choir instead of one, massive, aural wave.

Blinx tries too hard to be offbeat. It ends up looking like a pale imitation of games such as Ratchet and Clank, Sly Cooper, Star Fox and Sonic. It features cutesy characters, an assortment of weapons and gadgets, puzzles, stealth and lots of platforming action. You don't get to play as Blinx but you do get to play as both warring sides.

What is interesting is that you get to see the game from each side's perspective which means there is really no right and no wrong in the big picture. What is not so great is that each side uses different abilities to achieve their goals which means learning how to manipulate a new control system which you may or may not enjoy once you get the hang of it. The two sides are vastly different and while it may seem like a great idea at first, essentially having two games in one, I found myself liking one side and hating the other - a phenomenon that I can assure you is not exclusive to myself. Why not let us have the ability to play the entire game as one side or the other? When we complete the game we can go back and try it again as the other side if we desire. That seems to make more sense.

The two sides consist of pigs and cats. The pigs are called the Tom Tom Gang and the cats are the Time Sweepers. Both are out to collect the pieces of the Big Crystal. There are plenty of other things to collect along the way. The levels are loaded with collectibles but you won't find weapons, armor or gadgets. You'll have to purchase those at the shops.

The cats are time manipulators. They are able to rewind, fast forward, stop and even slow down time to accomplish specific tasks. There are times when you will need to rewind to get information that you may have missed and other times you will have to slow time down in a "bullet time" fashion to handle multiple enemies. This is the fun side to play as opposed to the pigs. They manipulate space. As such you will be able to trap enemies in black holes and travel through warp tunnels. These moves just don't seem to work for me. They seem forced and unnatural within the context of the game. Not to mention they also feel sluggish to implement.

Playing co-op through the single player levels is a lot more fun than going it alone. I would only recommend this game if it were a mandatory gameplay requirement. With two people the game seems to make a little bit more sense. You have two independent minds working toward a single goal. Techniques that you don't particularly care for may be traded. At the very least you can compromise, making the game a more enjoyable experience for each other. There is also a four-player split screen mini game but truth be told, I just didn't care to find two other people to play it. Even if it is great, it's not going to sell the game.

Mechanically the game is sound. It's very solid. It can be fun to play. On the easiest setting it's perfect for younger or beginning gamers. While there are some good original ideas the game as whole seems much too familiar. Each character has a different look and personality but they are typically stereotypically shallow. The humor is a bit on the immature side - which should appeal to young financial executives. The graphics are rife with reflections and refractions. Expect lots of detail such as shadows and smoothly flowing particle effects. The voiceovers are good and the music is a catchy blend of zany, Japanese, cartoon, pop melodies. Enough adjectives for ya'?

Blinx 2 is all in good lighthearted fun. If you're looking for a little diversion in between this season's blockbusters, you might consider renting this.

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System: XBOX
Dev: Artoon
Pub: Microsoft
Released: Nov 2004
Players: 1 - 4
Review by Dameia
RATING (OUT OF 5)
OVERALL
3.0
GRAPHICS
4.5
CONTROL
2.5
MUSIC/FX
4.0
VALUE
2.5